“Those of you who use Windows on a regular basis are undoubtedly very familiar with the taskbar that has been a part of the operating system since Windows 95. It has a variety of components, and although we’ve been able to work with it for quite some time, it’s by no means a perfect representation of what a taskbar should be. For example, if you have an abundance of open items sitting on your taskbar, they can begin to become crammed together, and when this happens, the buttons for each item start to shrink, and this causes any of the useful information that may have been contained within to become just another glob of goop on your taskbar,” Brandon Watts writes for OSWeekly.
Watts writes, “Windows XP does contain a feature called taskbar grouping that can group the taskbar buttons of several windows from the same application into one button, and this helps to some extent, but even with this approach, you’re still not getting the whole picture at a glance.”
Watts writes, “Aside from the taskbar, the dock presents open applications and frequently used programs in its own unique way. When you think of the dock, you probably think of OS X, however, the dock has been around longer than Apple’s latest versions of its operating system; and you can see this by looking at NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP. Apple’s version is so memorable because they redefined what a dock was, and they then launched it into the mainstream. Computer users suddenly realized that the Windows taskbar isn’t the only solution, and experimentation with this newfangled dock started to take place.”
Watts writes, “Personally, I prefer the dock to the Windows taskbar, and it’s one of the things that really drew me to OS X… it’s nice to look down at the dock and see, in a graphical way, how many e-mail messages and RSS feed entries are available for me to read. Instead of having to open the applications to see this information, it’s already right in front of my face, so I know what to expect. In certain cases, when an application is working on something, you’ll even see a graphical progress bar. It’s also nice to see a snapshot of the content of a window when you minimize it to this dock.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We’d prefer a root canal to the Windows taskbar. We’re interested to hear your ideas on how to make the Mac OS X Dock even better and also how you use your Dock. For example, we run our Mac OS X Docks as small as possible, always visible, on the bottom, with magnification disabled (the text rollovers and our grouping and memories work for us to quickly locate what we need. The magnification, while pretty, tends to slow us down since hitting a moving target isn’t as efficient as a stationary one.) We also place folders and hard drive icons in the right side of the Dock on all of our Macs; why Apple doesn’t ship Macs with the hard drive already in the Dock by default is beyond us. We also use Dock separators; Apple should give us something like them as a built-in option. How do you use your Dock?